The Future of Education

As technology advances and we get less and less low-skill jobs, we need a whole lot of people with higher education, more importantly, specialities. In order to make more people drift towards higher education, rather than just to work towards money, the system needs to be easy and built around the people that will use it. The older generation is not able to take time off work, at least a large amount, in order to get a higher education. Many of the older generation may have loans, kids, mortgages, and other financial obligations. To ask them to re-educate themselves, and take an entire curriculum for 3 to 6 years, in order to make more money or to bring the world more value, is an unreasonable question to ask of anyone. Younger generations seem confused on which field they may want to work in and quickly go into an education for the safety of it, and sometimes aiming higher than they should, quickly ending up having to do semesters all over, or at least do certain subjects again. Youths, on the other hand, has vastly different needs, they need to gain some core knowledge around how the universe which they live in function. Moreover should have their fair share of nurture, mentors, and idols to follow, while they should not have time constraints there should be certain goals of knowledge gathered within the age of twelve that should be met.

When looking at education from a distance, it becomes apparent that the current educational system does not reflect what the needs of the students are, pragmatically, sometimes education does the complete opposite. Standardized testing is one thing, standardized learning is another. The idea that everyone learns and proves their knowledge the same way is archaic, in all senses of the word. While memorizing for a test may seem fine on the surface, it is quite different from actual learning, for you may be able to remember the memorized information for a week, but once you actually gain new knowledge, and actually learn the information, it stays with you throughout life.

Conditions for empowering and promoting education:

  • Safe, positive, and challenging environment.
  • Personal investment.
  • Real world application.
  • Fun collaborations.
  • Intriguing questions.
  • Subjects they have a passion for.
  • No time constraints.
  • Modular.

When everyone, young or old, learns completely differently and at different speeds. To ask all students to go to classes based on their age is as archaic as having schools and classes based on gender or race. The concept of the current school system seems to be inherently counter- productive. The system itself needs to base itself on this fact, and by using technology as a central tool, it is easily achievable. Instead of having this linear and strict educational process, every subject should be broken down into multiple certifications of knowledge. Algebra, for instance, could be broken down into, algebra A-01, algebra A-02, algebra A-03, which could be graded or revised at any time. Not “fourth-grade algebra”, and if they werent able to master that subject, the student is left behind throughout the rest of the educational process. The student should only go to the next subject once one has been mastered. History alike, the student should be able to take a certification proving that the student knows a whole lot about a specific topic. Not that the student is a C+ in history as a whole, and forever will be deemed as a C+ in history regardless of their A grade knowledge in specific fields.

Furthermore, anyone can be a student, at any time. Everyone learns throughout life, in different manners. If a student chooses to spend their free-time watching a magnitude of documentaries on the subject of the history of the Ottoman Empire. That student would then be able to go to the learning center and take the certification, proving their knowledge, and getting a proof of that knowledge that could build into a master’s in history degree. Moreover, that certification would prove their knowledge only in that specific field. It may not be necessary to go to a learning center to take the certification, some could be taken at home, over the internet. The learning centers is a central concept that has been developed, as a kind of replacement to the schools of today. Without any strict schedule on when you can come to study sessions, or when to come to lessons, lessons which will be broadcasted, recorded and uploaded online for anyone to see. While it might not follow a strict schedule, that does not mean a curriculum can be developed for reaching a specific degree, however, other students could sit-in on classes over the internet or at the learning centers themselves.

The learning centers in question could be opened by anyone, their reputation would talk for themselves, you may have to pay a monthly or yearly fee for attending them. They may have to be mildly regulated further than just being held accountable for what they advertise, but it must be minimal since governments have been notorious in regulating the market unnecessarily.

This opens for innovation from third parties to create adaptive and inclusive learning courses, that students can indulge in however they may want to, and at any time they may wish to do so. Education takes time, arguably it takes a lifetime. A cascading mentoring program will benefit everyone on every level. Where the student that has mastered a subject or skill mentors one on one to a student that is merely starting to develop intuition in the subject or skill. This student, in turn, teaches and mentors another student on a lower level the skill, craft or subject in question. This cascade or hierarchy of learning and mentoring is, after all, native to human behavior, and is the only way of which societies have progressed.

Whilst having a traditional teacher present, an educationalist at that, has its benefits, it certainly also has its disadvantages. Since the educationalists carry their own biases on how pupils best master skills. I bet either you or at least many of your close friends and relatives had teachers that did not help them succeed in their academic endeavors, rather did the exact opposite. We cannot merely abolish teachers completely either, there will be a huge need for them to hold local lectures, to develop better courses, and to tutor people in need. But they will not hold the sole responsibility in the prospering of their students and pupils.

Since the education cannot solely rely on the educator’s’ ability to teach each student, we need to apply technology to the issue. The technology in question is adaptive educational systems. Companies such as Khan  Academy and Knewton amongst others have pioneered the concept of advanced digital adaptive education systems, based on the concept of learning for mastery. Where the system automatically adapts task difficulty to match the skill level of the student. As the student progresses and becomes more and more proficient it adapts to the skill level. If done right the student gains a level of intuition in the subject rather than having merely memorized it.

I must not pretend like this is my very own idea, I was introduced to the concept of Learning For Mastery by Khan Academy, or Salman Khan himself. But not even him is the one that conceptualized it, it has been around for decades, it was proposed as early as 1968 by Benjamin Bloom.

via GIPHY

This enables the lecturers, teachers, and professors to not only be a teacher, but a student at the same time, on another level than now, and the student can be a teacher as well. Accepting the best parts of the sharing economy and applying it to the educational process. The fact that a student can learn a part of the day, and have a lecture at the end. Students may even want to tutor youths since knowledge resonates better once you have to pass it on to someone else. Youths between 6 and 12 may need more nurture and to socialize.

There have been some other technological advances in this aswell such as Betty Brain, which may be able to both be a pupil and student, where the real student has to explain the subject to it. This could also make knowledge resonate better with a learner, yet there is no research pointing to if this type of a “student” or “teacher” gives a younger student the same experience, nurture, and socialization skills as a with real life people.

Accreditation may have to be regulated by the state, or a non-profit that has been appointed with accreditation-rights from the state. But this is necessary, the diplomas and degrees given out by third parties could simply be marked with where it originates. Like it is today. This will ensure the diploma or degree is real, and that it actually has any importance or relevance in the job market.

The IT industry chose to go outside of the normal educational system aswell and created their own certification systems since they could not depend on the classical anymore. As many IT professionals are without formal and accredited education the leaders in technology and infrastructure chose to create their own accreditation system.

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